Few bands can change genre halfway through their career and still be as relevant in their new field as they were in their last. Vessels are one such band and they brought their newfound sound to Rotondes on Friday night.
Having their foundations rooted in post rock, Vessels built up quite a reputation as a formidable live act as well as a hotly tipped band during the release of their debut album “White Fields & Open Devices” in 2008. Since then they have moved away from their post rock roots and gravitated to a more minimal electro sound, leaning on influences from John Hopkins to Four Tet.
With their new set up consisting of two percussion kits that almost fill the entire stage, accompanied by three keyboards and a Telecaster at the back, the band delved straight into the new album “Dilate”, from which much of the set consists. Although they may have moved from their post-rock roots they still have that inherent drive for the fine detail and there is little left to chance with the intricate weaving of beats pulsating through the crunching groove which has the crowd nodding away in unison.
Their new sound is a warm and immersive strain of electro which gives you the longing to be in that dark dingy club you love at 6am all consumed by the beat. Tracks such as “Echo In” built from sparse beginnings to become a multi-layered floor filler, again getting the crowd collectively nodding away. Whilst the likes of “The Sky Was Pink” lifted you into a dreamlike state with its pulsating synths and driving drums.
It’s hard to change genre and for it not to look like an opportunist’s move but with this it feels in some ways a natural progression. Fortunately, they’re self-aware enough to acknowledge their electro lineage whilst still bringing in elements of their past work allowing for a seamless navigation.
Now with a new album in the works under the Belgian label PIAS it will be interesting to see the direction Vessels look to take once more, will they look to consolidate on the new fan base they have built or will they decide to mix it up again? Whatever they choose to do it is heartening to see that they are willing to break out of their comfort zone and try and – by last nights’ evidence – succeed.
18/3/16 – Rotondes